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FairfaxBusinessRegional jobs picture improves in latest data

Regional jobs picture improves in latest data

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The Washington region saw lower joblessness in February, with unemployment rates down on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.

With 3,374,301 region residents in the civilian workforce and 121,637 looking for jobs, the Washington area’s unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent in February, according to figures reported April 6 by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s down from 4 percent in January (traditionally a high-joblessness month) and from 5.3 percent a year before, as the region was still grappling with the initial impacts of COVID.

Washington was one of 388 of the nation’s 389 metro areas to record lower year-over-year joblessness, according to federal officials. But only 163 of those areas saw any significant increase in payroll jobs from a year before; the others were about on par with February 2021.


Nationally, the lowest joblessness among metro areas was found in Elkhart, Ind. (1.7 percent) and Logan, Utah (1.8 percent). The highest rate was found in El Centro, Calif. (14 percent).

A total of 221 metro areas had jobless rates lower than the national average of 4.1 percent, with 158 areas above the national rate and 10 equal to it.

Of the 51 metro areas with populations of more than a million, the lowest jobless rates were found in Salt Lake City (2.2 percent) and Indianapolis and Minneapolis-St. Paul (2.4 percent each). The highest rate was found in Cleveland (6.4 percent).

For February, the largest year-over-year rebound in jobs, in raw numbers, came in the New York area (up 512,100), followed by Los Angeles (up 417,000) and Dallas-Fort Worth (up 275,800). In terms of percentage gain, the best rebounds came in Atlantic City (up 14.7 percent); Kahului, Hawaii (12.9 percent); and Las Vegas (12.7 percent).

For February, Virginia recorded 4,304,297 people in the civilian workforce and 125,719 looking for work, resulting in a jobless rate of 2.9 percent. That’s down from 3.4 percent a month ago and from 4.7 percent a year ago.

Among Virginia metro areas, jobless rates ranged from 2.4 percent in Winchester and 2.5 percent each in Blacksburg and Staunton to 3.4 percent in Hampton Roads.

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